I really want to become a bike tourer eventually (I'm going to be doing a quick two day ride up to the Grand Canyon and back at some point this summer) and I frequent the touring section to get inspiration and information. I do have a question on bar-end shifters, though. I have noticed that a lot of dedicated touring bikes come equipped with them. The explanation I've read is that they are easier to maintain/replace and are more reliable. I guess what I want to know is if they are awkward to use for shorter rides (I also commute), or if you prefer "brifters."